I had the good fortune of participating in two author events this past week. On Tuesday evening, I met with a dozen or so teens at the Library Express in Scranton's Steamtown Mall. They are the Teen Action Board, a group of 12-18-year-olds who enjoy stories - reading them, creating them, and acting them out. They're even creating their own Mystery Murder Theater. So this smart and interesting group listened to my shpiel about how I came up with my story idea, how I researched it, etc. There were some great questions and some interesting discussion, mostly about the way that our own experiences and interests shape what we write about.
Then yesterday, I had a book signing at the same location. A number of old friends and fellow writers came by, a fantastic show of support which I deeply appreciate. Some folks who wandered in to the Library Express stopped by to look at the display of my research materials. That gave me a great chance to share photos of Munich, reprints of Nazi propaganda, my 1930s camera, and the other materials I used to immerse myself in the book's time and place while I wrote.
My favorite moments are when someone who doesn't know me wanders over to the display (often drawn by the incredible book cover by Michael Rausch), picks up a copy of Risking Exposure, and reads the blurb on the back. I watch their expression go from mild interest to a half-smile, usually accompanied by the raised eyebrows or the 'humh' that defines curiosity. It's a wonderful moment of connection. I look forward to getting more of those.